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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision in favor of the church involved in the Reed v. Town of Gilbert case and in affirmation of the First Amendment. In this case, a Gilbert, Arizona sign ordinance discriminated against certain signs based on the content of the signs -- whether they were political, ideological, and directional. Directional signs were placed under more severe restrictions.
Good News Community Church and its pastor, Clyde Reed, needed to announce the times and locations of their services, but because their announcement signs (which directed individuals to a public school where services were being held) were deemed directional, the church was severely hampered in getting its message out. Pastor Reed and Good News Community Church sued to vindicate their constitutional rights. The lower courts ruled against them, so Pastor Reed took their case to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins made the following statement in response:
“Regulations that effectively treat religious gatherings as somehow offensive are unconstitutional. Thankfully, the Court affirmed the freedom of speech which is essential to our country.
“This is a significant win for Pastor Reed and Good News Community Church. The Supreme Court’s decision affirms the constitutional requirement that the government cannot discriminate against a speaker because of the content or viewpoint of their message. With their unanimous ruling, all the Justices have again assured us that the First Amendment protects not only small congregations like Good News Community Church, but all who wish to speak free from government interference. Ensuring an open marketplace of ideas in which all voices are protected and can speak freely, while guaranteeing that the government cannot marginalize any person or group in the public debate, is what the First Amendment is all about,” concluded Perkins.
Family Research Council filed an amicus brief in this case, the brief can be found here: http://downloads.frc.org/EF/EF14I59.pdf